Engaging Men in Supporting the Health of Their Families in Uganda
In the Kamwenge district of western Uganda, men typically do not support family planning, antenatal care, or child immunization activities, making it difficult for women to access these services. The MSH-led STRIDES project, launched in Uganda in 2009 and funded by USAID, has begun working in the local communities of Kamwenge to engage men in supporting family planning and reproductive health as well as child health services. Through outreach activities on market days, STRIDES has begun to increase men's awareness of and willingness to support the health of their families.
During market-day events, STRIDES health workers engage men in discussions about the importance of family planning, types of family planning methods, and their role in supporting female partners to access family planning services. The health workers give these men the opportunity to share their concerns or fears about family planning services and other health issues affecting their families. As a result of these activities, participating men have demonstrated increased support of family planning services and knowledge of reproductive health and child survival. They also show increased commitment to the health of their families.
"My wife has been pushing me to start using family planning because we already have seven children," says David Nkusi, who lives in the Kamwenge district. "I was hesitant because I had no clear idea about family planning and was not sure of the consequences. But after sensitization sessions during the market meetings, I will now join my wife for family planning."
The STRIDES project is also active in the Kalangala District in central Uganda, where Patience Nalwoga, mother of three children, explained that STRIDES-supported information on the radio helped her convince her partner to support family planning. "My husband was totally against family planning. He always warned me against accessing any family planning method because of the myths and misconceptions related to it. But his attitude has completely changed," said Patience. Her husband now escorts her to the health clinic to access services.
Read more about the STRIDES project here.